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Mar 25

Review: Fujifilm X-T20

While the feature set on the X-T20 is similar to most other Fuji cameras,it’s worth listing the rather extensive set of features on this camera.

Wi-Fi

Like all the Fujifilm cameras since the X-M1, the X-T20 has fairly full featured Wi-Fi capabilities, though the Wi-Fi features haven’t changed much in several years. The camera can connect to any Android or iOS smartphone or tablet using the Fujifilm Camera Remote app, and this allows you to transfer JPEG images, remotely control the camera or tag your images with GPS locations.

The image transfer process is mostly painless, with a fairly simple interface that allows you to transfer individual images selected on camera, or browse the card through the app to select images to transfer.  With the X-T20, however, I noticed rather long transfer times to my phone, which could reach over a minute for a full size transfer…something I haven’t generally experienced on my other X-Series cameras. Hopefully it’s just a bug that will be quickly ironed out.

The interface of Fuji's remote control app

The interface of Fuji’s remote control app

The remote control feature passes a live view of the camera’s sensor feed to your phone and provides for full-featured manual control of the camera, including all exposure settings, focus point setting, film simulation, flash mode and of course the ability to trip the shutter or start and stop video recording.  I don’t use remote control all that often on my cameras, but when I need it, it’s extremely useful.  One great option is for large group shots where you’re either adjusting lighting on the fly, or are in the picture yourself.  The app allows you to check positioning while you are away from the camera and then trip the shutter.  It can also be useful if you have the camera on a tripod in an awkward position, so you can make exposure adjustments more comfortably.

Geotagging works by manually having the camera request a location from your smartphone. The Fujifilm app then sends the current coordinates to the camera, and that data is used for all photos until you change the location data manually again. While this is helpful by not requiring your smartphone to constantly track location, thus burning battery, it’s also quite imprecise, as all your photos in an area will have the same coordinates, rather than moving with you as you go, unless you stop to feed new coordinates on every shot. It can also be somewhat inaccurate because it doesn’t allow your phone to get a really precise location lock before sending the coordinates…it often takes the quick first coordinates it gets, which can sometimes be off by a few thousand feet. It would be nice to see a map on the application, so you could see your location zero in, then choose when to send the coordinates to the camera.

Intervalometer

The X-T20 also includes the intervalometer feature that was first introduced on the X-T1. The intervalometer can be accessed through the menu and allows you to set a time interval as short as 1 second and as long as 24 hours, as well as the number of frames to be captured (from 1 to 999).  The shooting can start immediately or at a time up to 24 hours later.  One nice touch to the interval shooting is a countdown timer, which shows in the upper left corner of the screen to let you know how much time is remaining until the next shot.  You can cancel shooting at any time.

While multi-day time-lapse shoots with mirrorless cameras typically require either multiple batteries or an AC connection, Fuji has done its best to maximize battery life when shooting with intervals longer than 30 seconds.  In these situations, the camera actually shuts itself down between shots.  The camera turns itself on 5 seconds before a shot and stays on 5-7 seconds after the shot before shutting down again. Presumably, only the timer is running in the background, saving tremendous amounts of power.  While the savings are somewhat minimal with a 30 second interval, the energy savings will be huge for longer intervals; it’s a fantastic way to approach these long time-lapse shoots.

In-Camera RAW Conversion

While this feature is unchanged from all other Fuji-X Series cameras, I feel it’s worth discussing again.  Fuji has, in my opinion, the most straightforward and useful in-camera RAW conversion capabilities.  This is especially useful when shooting RAW only and transferring images via Wi-Fi, as it allows you to do moderately nuanced conversion to a full-size JPEG, which you can then directly share with Wi-Fi.

RAW conversion is the same as on other Fuji cameras, but there's no need to change what's already very well done.

RAW conversion is the same as on other Fuji cameras, but there’s no need to change what’s already very well done.

The in-camera RAW conversion function can be called up simply by pressing the Q button during image review.  You are then presented with a multi-page list of parameters that can be adjusted.  These allow you to change white balance, push or pull exposure, adjust highlight and shadow roll-off, change to any of the excellent built-in film simulations and the new film grain simulation and more. With the X-Trans III sensor, some of these parameters have gained additional adjustment capabilities when compared to earlier Fuji cameras.  For instance, shadow and highlight detail can be adjusted from -2 to +4, while overall exposure adjustment also sees a wider range of choices. Once you’ve made your adjustments, you can preview the result and then save it if you like what you see, or continue adjustment if you so desire.  While some other makers also have in-camera RAW conversion (Olympus and Samsung do a very nice job as well), it’s something I’d like to see on all cameras: I’m looking at you, Sony.

Flash

The X-T20, like the X-T10 before it, has a built-in pop-up flash that surrounds the EVF hump.  The flash deploys extremely quickly and solidly, and provides a bit of fill light or emergency flash for those times where you just don’t have the light.  Because it’s a small, direct flash that raises just a bit above the axis of the lens, it’s not going to provide particularly flattering light, but it works fine in a pinch and exposure is pretty accurate.

The pop-up flash of the Fuji X-T20

The pop-up flash of the Fuji X-T20

Other Items of Note

  • Like the other X-Trans III cameras, Fuji finally expanded exposure bracketing to include up to 3 shots at +/- 2 stops of exposure.  This is a big help for shooting quick HDRs, and Fuji even makes it painless for tripod mounted shooting when using the self timer to avoid shake. When bracketing and self-timer are enabled, the camera will take all three shots after the countdown, rather than requiring a shutter press for each shot in the sequence like some other cameras I’ve used. While the expansion to +/- 2 stops is a big improvement on the +/- 1 stop setting on earlier Fuji cameras, it’s still far below what most camera makers offer, with some offering up to 7 image bracketing and up to +/- 3 stops between exposures.  Simply adding 5 shot bracketing or adjustments to 3 stops would be very welcome, especially with the excellent fast electronic shutter available for extremely short exposures. Thankfully, relief may be coming soon.  Fuji recently announced a firmware update to bring 9 shot bracketing to the X-T2 and X-Pro2, so it is quite likely that the X-T20 may see this feature added via firmware update relatively soon.
  • The X-T20’s electronic shutter capability is unchanged from the feature that debuted on the X-T10, but it’s still one of the better options in the industry.  The electronic shutter can be enabled for completely silent shooting and shutter speeds as short as 1/32,000 second, which is crazy short.  The electronic shutter can be used by itself, or in conjunction with the mechanical shutter, such that the camera will automatically switch to the e-shutter when shutter speeds go beyond 1/4000s.  This makes it incredibly useful for shooting with fast lenses in bright light, where an f/1.2 aperture in bright sunlight might require between 1/8000s and 1/32,000s of exposure to record the image to your desires. There’s no need for an ND filter in these situations: a great help.  However, it doesn’t negate the need for an ND filter in all situations, as the electronic shutter is not a good choice for freezing action, despite the ultra short shutter duration.  The reason for that is that the electronic shutter is not a global shutter, but a rolling one, and the exposure is recorded at 1/32,000s, but read line by line over the course of around 1/20s.  While you won’t see motion blur at all, the electronic shutter will show odd warping of fast-moving objects due to the slower sensor readout. It will also cause the image to appear to lean if you are panning with the camera while using the electronic shutter.
  • The camera has the same group of advanced art filters and other features, such as automatic panorama stitching and multiple exposure capabilities, that has been present in the X-Series for some time. These work just fine, but don’t generally fit into my workflow on a regular basis.
  • The X-T20 becomes the second interchangeable X-Series camera to allow for charging of the battery through the camera’s USB port, after the X-T2.  This works when connected to a computer or through a USB charger and Micro USB cable. The charging time is slower than when using the dedicated battery charger, but this is a great feature that Sony cameras have had for a long time, and I’m glad that Fuji seems to be including this on their bodies going forward. I find it very nice to have charging capability simply by packing a small micro USB cable instead of Fuji’s bulky charger, and it also allows me to charge in the car if I’m traveling between shooting locations, simply by using a car USB charger. Thankfully, unlike Sony, Fuji also includes the dedicated battery charger with the camera.

Continue: Image Quality

About the author

Jordan Steele

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Admiring Light; Photographer; Electrical Engineer and Dad

26 comments

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  1. schralp

    I wanted this to be my next Fuji camera and was able to tolerate the change from the EVF of the X-T1. However, i found that I could not hold the camera with any lens besides my 35 f/1.4 without pressing the right button on the D-pad with the base of my thumb. The only solution was to lock them but that lockout takes a few seconds and toggling on/off to move the focus point was a disaster. Ideally, the focus point movement would be tied to a joystick and the D-pad locked independently. Alternatively, the touchscreen could be active when using the EVF (it works great when using the LCD and I really love that functionality and the haptics in my X70) but of course that brings up another set of issues I would expect; moving the focus point with your nose. Even with my smallest lens (the aforementioned 35) I struggled to keep from pushing the buttons with the base of my thumb. I guess that means it’s the X-T2 for me or stick with the X-T1….

    1. Jordan Steele

      Interesting. I can’t say I’ve ever accidentally hit that button when holding the camera. I will say that the add-on grip helps quite a bit in the handling of the camera…it is finicky due to its size without the grip. Still, the X-T2 is definitely going to feel better in the hand, especially if you have bigger hands.

  2. Stefano

    Thank You Jordan for your detailed review. I really appreciate your work.
    What you say about the EVF will maybe help me solving my doubts: I’m going to upgrade from XT1 and I’m not so happy to spend 1600 euros for the XT2. I think that the XT20 will fit most of my needs. My biggest concern was the smaller EVF indeed.

    I do hope that a future firmware update will allow the touch screen to be used for changing the focus point while looking into the EVF.
    I also hope that some of the features just announced for the next XT2 firmware update (up to 15 minutes exposure in “T” mode in particular) will be soon available for the XT20 as well.

    1. Jordan Steele

      It is definitely notably smaller. If you’ve used any of the X-E series, it’s the same apparent size, though you need to be closer to the optics to see the whole thing…some people don’t like that, I actually don’t mind at all because I position my eye that distance anyway, and it feels a bit more immersive that way. The only way to tell is to try yourself.

      1. Stefano

        Thank you very much.
        To me, the smaller size and direct usb charging (perfect features for a travel and hiking/trekking camera) are major pros for the XT-20.

        You wrote that the X-T20 has replaced the X-T1 as your primary Fuji body.
        Eventually, was the XT20 a worthy upgrade from the X-T1 for you, despite the smaller EVF and worse grip?

        Thank you!

        1. Jordan Steele

          I think so. The EVF is a fairly easy adjustment to be honest. Since I review lots of cameras, I’m used to jumping around different EVFs, so while the drop in magnification is certainly noticeable, you get accustomed to the smaller finder pretty quickly. It’s also the same resolution, so you’re not giving up any detail, just size.

          The extra detail and better AF performance were the big things for me, so in that realm I like it. If I shot exclusively Fuji, I probably would have sprung for the X-T2, but I shoot both Fuji and Sony primarily, so I couldn’t justify the extra cost, and I think it’s the right choice for me.

  3. Craig

    Jordan,

    Always appreciate your reviews for the practical and detailed considerations of a camera’s merits. Plus your photos are awesome. Really appreciate you using with a variety of lenses to show the possibilities. My X-T20 has been on back order for three weeks. Oye vey the anticipation!

    Craig

    1. Jordan Steele

      Thanks! Hope you enjoy it like I have!

  4. andi

    Hi Jordan
    I shoot with a XT-1 now, and I’m quite satisfied.
    If you compare the same pictures from the XT-1 and the XT-20 :
    is it a tiny or quite a huge difference?

    Andi

    1. Jordan Steele

      It’s not a huge difference. Noise wise, they’re fairly close…perhaps a half stop difference to the X-T20. The X-T20 definitely has more detail available, and while visible in a print, it’s not a massive difference. I did a comparison of the X-Pro2 to the A7 II, and at the end, to the X-T1 (for noise), but you can see the crops there. Image quality is the same for the X-T20 and the X-Pro2. http://admiringlight.com/blog/fuji-x-pro-2-vs-sony-a7-ii-noise-comparison/

      For the detail difference between them, see this crop from that test: http://www.admiringlight.com/2017/xt1-pro2.jpg

  5. Tiago

    Jordan
    Great pratical review.
    Inhave following your site for 2 years and this is my first post
    I have bought my xt-20 weeks two weeks ago and really like the camera. Coming from a XXD canon camera is really nice to have such high quality pictures (iso 12800 acros is really usefull for small prints and very film like), nice af tracking , nice video with film simullations, wonderful film simulations in a very small package
    I really agree with your pros and cons list: my main cons is the function button on the top plate is really mushy. The first i used it I was not sure if it was ok or Broken
    Two questions:
    What noise reduction settings do you Prefer?
    How would you classify shooting with manual portrait primes on it (with a nikon 85 mm)?
    Thank you and keep up the excelent work

    1. Jordan Steele

      I shoot RAW for the most part, so the noise reduction doesn’t get used unless I am using the the in-camera RAW conversion to share. Generally I leave it on -1, as I generally prefer a more detailed result with some noise than a smoothed image.

      I’d definitely recommend the grip for shooting with larger primes, but other than that, it works great. I think the clear EVF with focus peaking + magnification makes locking in on the focus point fairly straightforward, and certainly easier than on a DSLR.

  6. Jim Murray

    Hi Jordan, just found your site and and find it very informative.

    Have you any experience using the Thumb rest/grip made by Lensmate?
    They are not inexpensive but do look very well thought out and made.

    I do find the camera to be very compact, one of the attractions but do agree that holding it is cramped and also find myself hitting the four way switch with the heel of my thumb.

    Just wondering if the Lensmate thumb grip has worked for anyone.

  7. Jerome Froese

    I tried to like the X-T20 but found the grip to make this probably the most uncomfortable camera I’ve held in a very very long time. I tried it for 2 weeks but ended up returning it along with the 3 lenses I bought with it in exchange for a Sony A7II. Much more comfortable in hand for me.

  8. Gary

    Excellent review, very thorough.

    What wrist strap is that on your X-T20? It looks like a must have.

    Please let us know.

    Thank you.

    1. Jordan Steele

      That’s from Gordy’s Camera Straps. I have one for my Fuji and one for my Sony A7 II, and I love them. They are slightly stiff when you first get them, and then they break in over time and become very soft and supple. The one in this picture I’ve had for around 4 years and it’s holding up great.

  9. dunsun

    Hey Jordan,

    I really love your practical reviews.

    Please could you tell me if you had any troubles with auto white balance on this camera ?
    I’m thinking about getting this camera (I shoot m43 + Fuji X-A1).Fuji X-A1 produces excellent out of camera jpegs.
    From what I have seen auto white balance is not right (greenish tint) on this camera. For me it’s a very important criteria since I’m partly color blind and always fight with WB setting.
    This greenish tint is mentioned in many reviews (for example):
    http://mirrorlesscomparison.com/fujifilm-vs-olympus/omd-em1-mark-ii-vs-fuji-xt2/#Colours-white-balance-and-JPG-settings

    Regards

    1. Jordan Steele

      I can’t say that I noticed a tint in any of my shooting. Of course, I didn’t notice a green tint in my shooting with the X-T2 either. That said, I will often adjust white balance to taste in RAW, which may not be particularly useful for you, given the colorblindness, so I apologize I may not be of more help!

  10. Red Slater

    Great review. I have ordered one to replace my X-T10. I am quite satisfied with the 16M sensor, and am getting the T20 for other enhancements. My question is, if I switch the IMAGE QUALITY from FINE to NORMAL, so I get a 16M JPEG instead of a 24 JPEG, will the image match the 16M JPEG from the X-T10 in quality and print size?

  11. simo

    Hi jordan
    what about the gird artefact (inside the purple flare) with the x-t20.
    I readt that x-t2 and x-pro2 have the problem, did you see that problem with x-t20.

  12. Justine

    Which camera would you choose? The XT20 or the Oly EM10II? Curious to know :)

  13. Jonathan

    Terrific review and photos, thank you. I am seriously contemplating buying one. May I ask what software you use for converting X-trans raw files? Do you have a recommendation?

    Thank you
    Jonahan

  14. Ash

    Hi Jordan,

    Great review! It helped me make the decision to trade in my trusty X-T1 for an X-T20.

    I’m relaly happy with the video ease of use improvements, as well as the autofocus. The T1 as a great camera, but the T20 is a better fit for me.

  15. Pavel

    Thus far,I find that the best aspect of a touch screen is the ability that most manufacturers provide to turn it off. I’ve been very disappointed in the choices that my nose makes in focus point selection.

    The focus point joy stick on the other hand seems like the best idea of the last ten years.

    Dang. That will cost me some extra dollars, it would seem.

    1. Zoltan

      I feel 100% the same about the touch screen ! My nose was constantly moving the focus area. Had to turn it off when was using the viewfinder. I hoped you could use it for the Q menu , it would be great for that! Future firmware update might could enable that I hope!

  16. Dave

    Thanks a bunch for this. I live in poverty and was recently awards monies in court. Over the last few days I did extensive research on lenses, bodies, prices, image quality and concluded that my best option would be with Fujifilm. Canon came in at second place and SONY 3rd (only because most people cannot afford the Alpha a7rii). I think I will be very happy with the X-T20 and the 18-55mm f/2.8…it will make an excellent start.

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